KOLKATA: The vicious war of words between Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and PM Narendra Modi may be riveting, but it has also put the real issues ailing the state on the backburner. The ‘war’ is more a ‘dangal’ (wrestling) than the carefully crafted political chessboard moves.
While Modi termed Banerjee a ‘’speed breaker in the path of development’’ and she dubbed him a ‘’liar’ and "fascist leader", most urban electors in Kolkata feel both have overlooked the basic issues. In Alipurduar and Cooch Behar, which poll on April 11, the core issues include the closure of tea gardens, joblessness, poor healthcare facilities and absence of doctors at the super specialty hospitals.
Tea garden workers in Alipurduar and Cooch Behar number 44% and 22% respectively of the voters. All political parties have fielded candidates from the two seats but the real fight is between BJP and the Trinamool.
Rathin Dutta of Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar does not know whom to blame for his plight.
“I completed my post graduation three years ago, but I am a burden on my parents and don’t have a job.”
The despondency of unemployed educated youths surfaced August last when a 30-year-old PG and B.Ed student committed suicide after he was offered a cleaner’s job at Sonarpur, 20 km from Kolkata.
A large section of electors in Kolkata debate whether issues such as farm distress and joblessness should have been given priority or national security.
Biswanath Chakrabarty, a professor at Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata, said domestic issues such as unemployment, farmers’ plight and slow economic growth were suppressed.
He believes identity politics will impact the young. Didi may benefit from a Hindu vote split, while a section will stick to their age-old political commitments.